Many schools across Dorset have started to welcome back children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, with more to follow in the coming weeks.

Cllr Andrew Parry, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Early Help, said: “We believe that this week around 75 per cent of Dorset schools will be welcoming more pupils into Reception and Year One and around 50 per cent will be welcoming more students into Year 6. This will increase over time as schools have plans to open in a phased way during the next few weeks.”

Gary Spracklen, headteacher at The Prince of Wales School in Dorchester, said: "We have had our first children emerging from lockdown back today, our pre-school and Year 2 children.

"It's been great to see the children, we have had a really child-focused approach here so we have had music playing when they arrived, everyone in bright colourful clothes and a bubble machine going just to make it really welcoming.

"They have been away from school for ten weeks so we wanted to make it as welcoming as possible.

"We will be continuing our 'your child, your choice' so parents can choose whether or not to send their children back to school.

"80 per cent are in and others will be following in the coming days. We have supported all parents by continuing to run our full virtual school curriculum with online assemblies and lessons."